|“||This world is mine now. All my enemies are in prison, except for young Prince Yubi, who has escaped to the primitive planet called "Earth". Go there and get him!||„|
| ~ Zanu in the intro.|
Zanu is the overarching antagonist of Joe Camp's 1983 short-lived TV series Benji, Zax & the Alien Prince. He is a manipulative and oppressive tyrant who has taken over the distant red planet called Antars and plans to capture Prince Yubi. He is the boss of Darah and Khyber as well as their Level 10 droid named Zord.
He was portrayed by Ken Miller.
Zanu is a medium-sized man who wears a black cloak with a cape as well as a knight helmet. He also appears to wear a suit of some armor as well. Like other Antarians, he also has some points that drape over his shoulders.
At first, Zanu presented himself to be a kind and peaceful person who cared for others. However, he eventually revealed his true nature to be an extremely malevolent, ruthless, tyrannical, sinister, manipulative and oppressive man who abused his power and cared about nothing but himself. When Trask saw what he really was, he delayed the Antarian Revolution and fled to Earth after his efforts to stop him were unsuccessful.
He then took over Antars and overthrew Yubi's family by killing the King and imprisoning the Queen. When he took complete control over the planet, he ordered his hunters, Darah and Khyber as well as Zord to capture Yubi when he realized that he could defeat him. It is implied by Zax that Zanu was aware of how close he was to his mother, so he kept the Queen alive. When he sent Tanya to Earth to capture Yubi, it is stated that she was one of his young clones, implying that she wasn't a natural being. Despite his diabolical nature, it is stated that he actually admired Darah and Khyber for being highly loyal to him.
|“||At the time I was Zanu's right-hand man, the things he said seemed to make so much sense for us; the society of beings, that were somehow fine ways to live together. (Yubi: But Zanu is a terrible person and an evil ruler.) Ah, but he didn't seem to be at the time. And then, gradually, I began to see that he didn't begin to practice much of what he preached. And I wanted to at least try to stop him. (Yubi: And my mother didn't help?) Well, the Queen had no reason to trust me. I don't blame her. (Yubi: So, you delayed the revolution all by yourself?) For almost 100 years. But unfortunately, as you know, I didn't stop him.||„|
| ~ Trask telling Yubi about his story with Zanu.|
Zanu eventually takes control of Antars and overthrows Yubi's family, forcing Yubi and his level 2 droid, Zax to flee to Earth. He also has the king killed and imprisoned the queen. He announces that he has everything under control, except the fact that Yubi escaped from him and orders his hunters, Darah and Khyber, along with their level 10 droid Zord to capture him and take him back.
In order to survive on Earth, Antarians must wear a special bracelet known as a cipher. This is logical since the atmosphere is likely to be very different on Antars than on Earth. Most of the plot follows the two hunters pursuing Yubi and Zax in a black chevy van and their efforts in capturing Yubi almost end in failure, mostly due to Benji's great intelligence and loyal assistance and does an often better job protecting the prince than the level 2 droid assigned to him.
In the first episode "The Prince and the Bag Lady", Benji and Zax discover that the two hunters have arrived and are chased into a junkyard. Zax accidentally runs into a truck, knocking him unconscious and Benji is forced to lead the hunters away. Benji warns Yubi and takes him to Zax, only to discover that he has disappeared. Yubi is confronted by the two hunters and they discover Zax after a woman named Lucy takes him. They capture Zax and take him to their hideout to have him lead to Yubi. However, Benji follows them and manages to rescue Zax. When the hunters continue their search, Lucy distracts them, while the trio escape.
In the second episode "U.F.O.", a news article about an Antarian spacecraft is published by Harwell Thompson. The trio are curious about him, while Darah and Khyber have already known his motives to become rich and humiliate them. Thompson kidnaps Yubi and captures Zax, while the hunters head after him with Benji following them. They arrive at the motel and Benji leads the hunters to Thompson, allowing him to rescue the pair and escape before the hunters could catch them.
In the fifth episode "Goodbye to Earth", Yubi tries to return to Antars to see his mother by getting a job at NASA, in spite of Zax's warnings not to endanger himself until he notices Benji being chased by the hunters and decides to get out of the ship and save him before he's ready to defeat Zanu.
In the eighth episode "Puppy Love", Tanya has been sent by Zanu to capture Yubi, but she redeems herself and decides to go back to Antars to tell Zanu that she couldn't find Yubi, while Benji leads the hunters away from Yubi and gets them arrested.
In the ninth episode "Double Trouble", the hunters mistaken a mischevious boy named TJ Parker for Yubi after committing minor theft and Yubi is arrested, due to their striking resemblance, but Benji and Zax rescue them and set things right. When the hunters realize their mistake, they impersonate Parker's parents in order to capture Yubi, but Benji stops them.
In the thirteenth and final episode "Decoy Droid", the hunters capture Zax and send a duplicate named Circon to impersonate Zax and lure Yubi into their trap. However, Benji notices the scheme and attacks Circon, due to his lack of arachnophobia and leads him into the same culvert Zax was trapped and shuts him off before the hunters return and turn him back on. Benji leads the evil droid to be shot by the hunters and rescues Zax before the hunters could recapture him.
- Trask (formerly)
- Harwell Thompson
- Tanya (formerly)
- Despite only appearing in the intro, Zanu served as the Heavy and Bigger Bad, because he drove the plot by overthrowing Yubi's family and forcing him and Zax to flee to Earth. In addition, Darah and Khyber were carrying out his orders and were willing to capture Yubi at all costs.
- He is partially inspired by Adolf Hitler. This is evident during Yubi and Trask's discussion about his history during the Antarian Revolution, as he appeared to be a benevolent person until he revealed his true nature and took over Antars for himself as he unlawfully imprisoned the other Antarians of Yubi's kingdom.
- If one pays close enough attention when Zanu makes his appearance in the opening credits, one may notice that he's wearing a knight helmet.
- The intro in the second half of the series is the same as the earlier intro, except the background is slightly different and that Zanu's head is not reflecting as he orders his hunters to capture Yubi while Darah and Khyber do not appear in the intro, possibly because of their original actors' replacement. The reason this was changed was probably due to the replacement for Darah and Khyber's original actors.